Thinking About Jobs, Careers, and Callings

Recently I read that a job is “something typically done from 9 to 5 for pay”, while a career is “a system of advancements and promotions over time where rewards are used to optimize behavior”, and a calling is “something that we feel compelled to do regardless of fame or fortune”. Today, and as my weekend draws to an end I find myself wondering which one of those three I have?

While I generally like my job and I have reached a reputable position up the corporate ladder, I do often wonder if I would have been working in my current field if it were up to me. You see, I did not wake up one day and say “I want to write about the subject my employer focuses on.” or “I want to work in the this field or that.”

When I got my current job I was between jobs, so I sat for an interview, and I my skills got me hired. I learned to like the field I’m in on the job, and I did good work so I kept moving up. So, according to this definition  I don’t just have a job because I don’t just do it for pay. I work according to a system that evaluates me and gives me a due reward, so I guess I have a career.

Then I started to think about whether or not I have a calling, and I realized that the things I write outside work are my calling, because whether or not they make me famous, does not determine whether or not I write them.

I believe I am lucky because I am able to make this distinction, but how many people can say they can? How many people are living their lives focusing too much on their career?

How many people show up to work because they have to? How many work for a promotion because they were taught that this was what they should aspire for?

Maybe this is why only a  few people make their mark on a given field while the rest of us are doing good work in the eyes of our managers only and not the world  on the world.   In our careers our reward is our motive while when we work for a calling our dream is the motive, and this is why it feels good to do that regardless of what happens and how much we get paid.

Maybe my definition of a calling encompasses those things we do regardless of whether or not we are paid for them. Because, I do ask myself if I would be doing my day job if it were for free and my answer is no. But, will I be writing if it were for free? The answer is yes.

These definitions got me thinking, and they really changed the way I look at my day to day activities.

So in closing I ask you which one of the three do you have? Do you have a job, a career, or a calling?

note

The  definitions are found in  Elle Luna’s book “The Crossroads of Should and Must”

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